People are in search of something. They search outside of themselves for this elusive sense of being through books, classes, associations, and a host of other avenues. Sometimes their thirst is slaked, other times their confusion only deepens. Phillip's passion and purpose is to help those who want to grow, take control of their lives, and live with purpose. There is a desire within us to understand the power within. We take control of our lives by understanding ourselves. With this insight, a new perspective is gained. From this we make informed choices based on our desires, and not another's need.
Here, are some insights Phillip has gained over the years and continues to discover more. If you find value in them, fantastic. He has served you well. If you would like to discover more, contact Phillip at [email protected] and see what nuggets of gold lie within you.
The fundamental attribution error is a basic and often automatic judgement we make. The basis lays in the failure of individuals to fully consider the dynamics of a given situation and overestimate the traits and personality of another. These two factors lead to false assessments of others. True, everything is perception, which leads us to wonder how to compensate for such gross misjudgment.
For the most part, awareness can significantly reduce the error. We also feel an understanding of how the error manifests may also help. Such a level of awareness is likened to awakening from a long nap.
The fundamental attribution error (FAE) rests on a platform of duality. We’re not talking about good versus evil, but the bedrock of good and evil. The division exists within and without the individual. This can be the basis for dualism on a larger scale. All events are relative to the individual, and it is that individual who develops the appropriate grading scale; a division for all that is considered beneficial and detrimental.
Duality is a platform of opposing forces. It is what a balance depends upon. Wile the balance focuses on proportions, duality focuses on categories within the balance. When we encounter others, we are using this balance to measure them; to determine if they are friend or foe. Often the neutral aspects are dismissed.
Behavior must be weighed within the context of expression. These neutral facets are the circumstances associated with another’s actions. After all, we are prone to drive near the speed limits when traveling to and from work. However, if the preceding event is considered an emergency, limits are ignored.
Perception is a joint venture between us and the world at large, or the common reality. People also assume they are interacting with others like themselves, and when some fail to meet those expectations, another series of judgements occur. The base model for these judgements is themselves and they are evaluated by their self-perception.
Mindful awareness helps reduce the fundamental attribution error. Being aware that we make these judgements allows us to pause before acting through habit. This awareness also points out the fact that we are also being judged. This all to be mindful of their actions.
Behavior by itself is meaningless, just as the image of a tree is meaningless without the benefit of foreground and background to give it context. Events give behavior context. Through understanding context, we respond correctly. Simply put, ask relevant questions regarding the behavior others before evaluating them.
Langdridge, D., & Butt, T. (2004). Fundamental attribution error: A p;henomenological critque. British Journal of Social Psychology(43), 357-369.
Myers, D. (2008). Social Psychology (9 ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
When someone asks us what fear is, the response provided is
a lack of information. Typically, this is true. Unfortunately, this is not
always the case. There are times we remain afraid after we have all of the
information. Thus, when we are afraid, it’s not always because we are lacking anything.
Fear plays another role.
We have these negative emotions because of the role they play. Pain tells us we are already in danger and need to act quickly. Irritation may tell us its time to step away from something. Anger tells us we are being threatened. A sense of unease tells us we should be on our guard or better, we should vacate the premises. All carry messages for us, messages we tend to ignore. Another role for fear may be that we are unsure of ourselves.
Why do we experience a lack of confidence? Usually it’s because we lack experience. Of course, experience is information, but of a different sort. Our confidence comes from our past. The first time we rode a bicycle we were afraid. Our fear was not from a lack of information. Whoever was with us during that first ride probably told us what to do. Try to keep our balance, keep pedaling, and watch where we’re going. Our first time out, we got it wrong. Eventually, we managed to keep the bike up. We even managed to keep pedaling. When we realized what we were doing, we failed to pay attention to where the bike was heading and bumped into a tree or (hopefully) some other stationary object. For some, this small mishap instilled a lasting fear. We got it wrong and we don’t want to make the same mistake again. This can lead to a very narrow life experience. Fortunately, we have choice.
Choice is what separates some of us from those who believe there is no choice. Choice teaches us the value of risk. Many of us don’t know what value means. Value is something we don’t see or recognize, but we experience it. Value brings rewards unseen. Value is something implicit. What we are saying is that choice offers us more than opportunity. Choice offers an enhanced life experience. Choice offers value.
Through choice or value, we gain confidence. Confidence is not something we can purchase or even expect. Confidence can only be gained through experience. We can purchase services such as training, but the training is of little use until we put it into practice. Training provides a sense of confidence, but until we actually perform the actions we have been trained in, and until we match it with firsthand experience, we are paralyzed with fear. Fear not only tells we are lacking something; fear also holds us at bay. Only through action, or only through choice can we overcome ourselves. Fear merely informs us of what we lack. Our lack of choosing not to avail ourselves of experience holds us at bay. Our lack of choosing not to take advantage of an opportunity holds us prisoner. Our failure to recognize opportunities blind us to the value of risk.
We are all in this experience together. We not only share this experience with each other, we share it with all of nature. Every creature faces this numbness. Every creature must decide to act or to become prisoner. Fear is our ally, because fear provides us with valuable information about ourselves.
end the bizarre tyranny of ego is why we go on the spiritual path…" This is incorrect.
When we talk about the spiritual path, we must consider the word spiritual.
When embarking on such a journey, we would be careless if we did not first
consider what it means.
Spirit in the old meaning is breath, and breath is life. We cannot be any simpler. Thus, our spiritual path is about acquainting ourselves with life. The only way this be accomplished is through experience.
The tyrant is not we. The tyrants are what the Gnostics call the Powers that Be. On those occasions when we are not in control, others are in control. However, this too is a myth. We are forever in control. We control the manner in which we react. This is not ego. This is us. Ego is part of the process.
The entire process is composed of the id, the ego, and the super ego. The id and super-ego represent influences upon the ego, or more precisely, us. Ego is us. The id represents our fears and desires. Super-ego embodies the social standards many strive to live up to. The ego reconciles them because they are often at odds. Thus, to rid ourselves of ego is to rid ourselves of ourselves. In short, without ego we are powerless. Power is the ability to influence. Without influence, we fail to exist. Our very existence is dependent upon the ability to influence ourselves and others. In order to accomplish this, we must act. Thus, ego is not the enemy. Ego is the diversion.
Ego is the method employed by others to establish a sense of stature. They divert our attention from growth by insisting we are imperfect. What is the difference between insisting we are imperfect and being of sin? They are sales pitches for the alleged spiritual gurus and teachers. They mislead the unwary. It is the life experience we should consider. If we are dissatisfied with the life we are experiencing, we should discover where the fault lies. If we are satisfied with our experience, we should discover how it can be improved. This may come through the assistance of others or to become more indistinct.
Bahm, A. (1964). The World's Living Religions: A searching comparison of the faiths of East and West. Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL: Souther Illinois University Press.
Blatt, S. J., & Auerbach, J. S. (2000). Psychoanalytic models of the mind and their contributions to personality research. European Journal of Personality, 15(3), 277.
Haug, I. E. (1999). Boundaries and the use and misuse of power and authority: Ethical complexities for clergy psychotherapists. Journal of Counseling & Development, 77(4), 411.
Rinpoche, S. (1992). The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. (P. G. Harvey, Ed.) San Francisco: Harper.
Alternative, Complimentary and Conventional Medicine: Is integration upon us?
Complementary Alternative Medicine therapies are meant to be used alongside conventional medicine, not as stand alone replacements.
Bruce Barret (2003)
I often read articles and stories where the authors describe life as being filled with stress, tension, and everything that creates difficulties. The idea works great for stories because an antagonist is needed to create struggles. After all, that is the purpose of drama. However, this may leave a person with the impression that life is one big struggle with reprieves being added as spice. I want to tell you that life is not about struggle. Life is about participation.
The way I participate in life determines whether it will be filled with joy, drudgery, or a mixture of the two. What determines the blend is how I choose to perceive the events around me and those involved. After all, while we may be part of one another’s version of life, we do not dictate their experience. In the same fashion, I don’t decide if someone’s experience with me is one of excellence or one of disgrace. Each of us plays a supporting role in the lives of others. We are the main characters in our documentary and are able to portray them in a variety of styles. Most of the time we are caught up in the expectations of others or of the culture we identify with, and for many that is the Western culture.
Western culture is not a bad lifestyle, if we remember its flaws. We don’t have to describe them, because we are already familiar with them. While reading Lynne McTaggert’s, The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us (2011), I came across a part where Americans were said to be miserable. Well, the only reason I can think of a description like this would be that many forget to do something vitally important to their well-being: play. This can also be called ‘me time.’
When we think of playtime, we may associate it with kids. Has anyone noticed how resilient kids are? They are more than just survivors; they are teachers for adults who feel they must put away childish things. Children are able to take what troubles them and turn it into a game. These games help them work out whatever troubles them. They do this through role-playing. Being adults, we may find this a bit awkward, but if we pay attention, we may find ourselves playing roles that help us to express our feelings. Being connected to our authentic-self or higher-self is more important today than it ever was. Of course, our authentic or higher self is being who we are and not pretending to be another.
Many are familiar with the changing energy of the planet and cosmos. For those of us who are out of sync with whom we are, this is creating havoc with our lives. Familiar patterns are being uprooted and replaced with those that are more in tune with our beliefs. Part of the way of getting in tune is through play.
I encourage you to make a play-date with friends, yourself, or just spend time in the company of strangers. You don’t have to do anything that is uncomfortable. Even if you decide to spend the evening curled up with a good book, a friend, or a canvas. Just take time to unplug yourself from the complexities of the life you created.
I had a conversation with someone about manifesting. She said, “I was telling a friend that I remember holding my hand out, wanting an apple, and one would appear. Just like that.”
No eyebrow was raised in astonishment. No lip curled in sarcasm. Events such as this are common. Not the fruit appearing out of thin air, but events that seem as though they did. I nodded my head in agreement. Nothing new here, just advanced manifesting.
She asked. “How can we get back to that?”
If I had taken the time to think, I might have realized the oddity of the question. “The best we can do is give it back,” I responded, as though this question were normal.
“What,” she shot back at me in disbelief.
“What is the one thing people take away,” I began. “A sense of self-worth. Parents spend a good deal of time telling their children they can be anything they want, and how great they are. As they get older, they invest the same amount of time disenfranchising them of their self-worth.” This seemed like an appropriate explanation, but it wasn’t. The confusion she was experiencing wrinkled her face.
“I remember when I was eight or ten,” I began, “one night after a school program, I commented that none of them had said they were proud of me, loved me, or even enjoyed the show.” Come to think of it, they didn’t even bother to correct it after the fact.
She blurted the name of some well-known author, who escapes me now, that others are not here to validate us. Our purpose for being here is not to be validated.
Disturbed, I chose not to pursue the conversation. That night, I dreamed of being in a crowd searching for someone to acknowledge me. Oh, I was there, but anything I did was empty. To them, action, and words were empty.
Validation is confirmation. Self-satisfaction is about developing self-worth. How does one build self-worth? We’ll share how our sense of worth is developed.
Before developing a relationship with our energy-based friends, I was a miserable piece of existence. My path seemed to go from one screw-up to the next. Whenever I thought I had accomplished something good, someone else came along and made it seem as though it were a wasted effort. Does any of this sound familiar? We’re not that different. My opinion became, why bother, I’ll get it wrong anyway. Eventually that’s what I did. I didn’t bother doing anything.
Fortunately, this was a short-lived endeavor. Eventually, I did what most do, I adopted the attitude of not caring what anybody thought. Personal satisfaction became the goal. Criticism was immediately followed by choice words. Who cares what others think anyway? Well, we should care about what they think, especially if we want someone talk to, to hear us, or just to socialize. Nobody cared about me because I didn’t care about them.
Self-validation is worthless. In order to be recognized, you must recognize them. In order to determine if our life is satisfying, we need a comparison. Without a comparison, we have no way of knowing if we are doing something beneficial or destructive. We’re left with one big question mark. Nothing can be considered worthy unless we have a comparison. Thus, we need others in order to establish some sense of worth.
All strive to be accepted by others. If it were not so, we would have no need for friends, lovers, spouses, or family. In order to satisfy our need to belong, people will endure abusive relationships, even insist on returning to the abuser. Why do they do this? A person will continue a detrimental relationship because they need to be accepted; they need recognition. Being accepted is validation.
What if we are looking for validation for our actions?
Searching for validation for actions is a desire for others to see us as being competent, someone to be valued. Myself, I was not only searching for acknowledgement, but acceptance. When our actions are acceptable, we know they are appropriate. Choosing appropriate behaviors promotes value. Being satisfied with what we accomplish doesn’t mean we’ve accomplished something good, bad, or mediocre. Acknowledgement comes in the form of compliments. We need some form of recognition for comparison. We cannot improve ourselves if there is nothing to compare.
Albert Bandura developed the theory of vicarious learning, which is simply that a person can learn from observing others. By observing the behavior of others, we learn to correct our flaws. When doing this, our self-identity changes.  This identity is what guides along our path. Validation from others determines the behavior we select. This validation comes in the form of recognition, not whether we did something correctly or not. Acknowledgement is the foundation of self-worth, of value. The expression and emotion associated with acknowledgment is the mortar of our foundation.
The role others play in developing our worth is through validation. The need to be accepted is a gift from Nature. From the time we are children, we strive to please others. We are social creatures and crave acceptance. One of the Natural Laws is to nurture. Our closest evolutionary relatives survived through the act of nurturing, socializing, and belonging. The desire to be a part of a group may override our need for self-worth and survival. This is an innate need and is universal. When we refrain from contributing to another’s sense of worth, and subsequently our own, we contribute to their and harm ourselves.
Yes, that may be an overstatement, but consider this. We hold positions of authority in the lives of others. Mental health professionals, ministers, doctors, readers, life coaches, etc. literally hold another’s sense of value in their hands. They have an obligation to validate their existence, and nurture them on their path.
We all need of acceptance, recognition, and the approval of others. This is part of the Natural Laws. To do otherwise is unnatural. Something as mundane as hello or a nod can elevate another’s demeanor. We would like to close with this narration. We attended a group meeting and greeted each other in this fashion. I am Phillip. The group responded together, Phillip, we see you. This means that I am important to them and they recognize that I am in need of them. We closed the meeting in this fashion. I am Phillip. They responded, Phillip, we will remember you. I responded; I will return.
We are who work with Phillip. We greet you, for you are important to us.
 (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005)
 (Myers, 2008)
 (De Wall, 2009)
 (De Wall, 2009)
De Wall, F. (2009). The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society. New York: Three Rivers.
Hergenhahn, B. R., & Olson, M. W. (2005). An Introduction to Theories of Learning. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson; Prentice Hall.
Myers, D. (2008). Social Psychology (9 ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
Sometimes the best way to deal with difficult people is to not avoid them.
Like everyone else, they may lack the necessary tools to communicate their thoughts, their challenges, and requests. Often, they don't hear the words they speak. Try repeating what they are saying in your own words. When we're on the same page, life is much easier.
We are magnets for change because we are always dreaming about what if. What if I had asked her out, would she have said yes? What if I had finished college? What if I had taken the other job? The funny thing about such fanciful inquiries is that they are filled with emptiness.
A lot of us like to say we use the Law of Attraction, but we really don’t know much about it. Yeah, we say like attracts like. While that’s true, we often wonder how we attracted the messes we often find ourselves in. The true question about all of this is what are we really attracting? Think about all of those ideas or plans many of us have on our mental back burner. When was the last time they were revisited? Don’t know?
If any are like me, whenever something seems to click, it’s time to renew investigations. Sometimes they lead to a dead end. When this happens, dump the pot. Other times, new ideas are discovered and added to the stew. If we don’t check on what’s cooking back there, it goes bad without any of us being any wiser. What happens then? Everything goes sour.
If any are following the Law of Attraction, at least our understanding of it, we may want to do a mental exercise to see if its time to get rid of some stuff. For instance, a lot of us like to use the term, I want to be (fill in the blank) when I grow up. If we are in our forties, it’s time to throw that pot out. The reason we are saying this is because most have already made the decision one time or another. Adolescence is not just for teenagers. Sometimes it bleeds into early adulthood. If any are still trying to make that choice, then perhaps they are interested in making changes in their life.
When we begin experiencing poor job satisfaction, we begin fantasizing about a better position. So, if any are daydreaming and wishing, then they may have discovered wishing gets you a handful of nothing. Of course, there is a more colorful way of putting it. This means it’s time to check the mental burners to see if you have any recourse available.
Not knowing what we want leads to confusion. If there is nothing on the back burner, then get a pen and paper and write down all of your passions. This means, don’t write down the mediocre stuff. If any want to shift from a state of confusion into a state of purposefulness, then they are going to have to engage their emotions. Become emotional about what we want out of life and live a life of expectancy. What I mean is expect greatness from life and it will happen, but we have to do our part.
If procrastination is an enemy, then find someone to hold us accountable. This means be proactive in our efforts. Enlist the aid of a friend, find a mastermind group, or hire a life-coach. In Neal Conan’s Talk of the Nation on National Public Radio, he interviewed Atul Gawande, they discussed the value of a coach for professionals and suggest others should have life-coaches as well to improve life satisfaction. Accountability is what moves us forward. Step out of confusion, wishful thinking, and daydreaming of life’s scenarios. Step into purposeful actions, clarity in purpose, and satisfaction.
Gawande, A. (2011). Athletes Have Coaches. Why Not Everyong Else? Talk of the Nation. (N. Conan, Interviewer) National Public Radio.
 (Gawande, 2011).
The idea that we attract events and are attracted to events
by default is not new, at least not to the observant. Those who feel they’re
stuck in a rut are on the edge of making this discovery. The real question is
why are we doing this by default?
Nature provides us with at least two needs to be fulfilled. The first is survival. If ever there were a universal natural law, this would be it. The Natural Law of Survival is witnessed in every aspect of creation. Every animal and plant struggles to survive. We struggle to survive the many circumstances we not only foist upon ourselves but acquiesce to. Creation does not stop there. There is also the continuity of life, commonly referred to as life after death or reincarnation. Survival will always come first. Of Nature’s supreme laws this one is difficult to ignore, but often overlooked.
The second great law is the Natural Law of Belonging. Every creature that moves upon the earth is part of a larger whole. The anomalies are those that prefer to be alone, but are they separate? The idea of belonging is not limited to our concept of soulmate, lovers, or family. Our greatest institution advocates a type of reunification, suggesting the idea of being separate is a step in the belonging process. When we are prevented from belonging to something, we become dangerous to others and ourselves.
Many clichés exist to explain our purpose for being here. Working through past life issues, or to learn lessons are popular. When this question was put to others, the response was to experience life because God was unable to do so. We are going to introduce another, to learn about power. Power is best described as the ability to influence. We think of power as the ability to influence others, but it is more than that.
The first stage of life occurs when we are children. We’ll be more specific. When we are born, we begin developing our power. This is when the survival instinct given by Nature rules our lives. We cry when we need to be fed. We cry when we need to be held. There’s that other gift of Nature, the need to belong. During this time, it’s difficult to become aware of our power.
When we move into the second stage of our lives, we are still unaware of the power within. We unknowingly test the power we wield. We bend the rules or ignore them. We have no concept of the idea of consequences. That’s why we bend and ignore them. Later, when we begin to comprehend the role consequences, we begin taking them into account. Well, sometimes we do. The tendency to ignore them remains strong.
When entering the last stage of childhood, we have become aware of our power. We have learned that bending the rules is possible and ignoring them is preferable. The thrill of living has not been tempered with consequences because many of the consequences of our deeds do not return to us until many years later. Science tells us the brain is not fully formed until we are in our mid-twenties and early thirties. By the time we enter our thirties, we begin to experience the price of many thoughtless daring deeds. That is, if we survive them. Many of those I knew from high school had moved on by the time I reached thirty-five. Only a handful progress any further.
When we enter the first part of adulthood, those of us who survive, begin to understand the power we wield. The consequences of poor choices reveal themselves time and again. The bad choices stay with us forever, sometimes in the form of guilt, other times in the form of regret. Of those who survived the stages of childhood, many get stuck here. Addictions take hold like some self-applied adhesive. They become more than just stuck. They become absorbed into the environment and the fabric of life. Others merely travel about in circles. To the observer, they go ‘round and ‘round, experiencing the same calamities we experienced years ago. Sometimes we think they never stood a chance. Other times we shake our heads in mild confusion and astonishment. What has become clear to us still eludes them.
In the second part of adulthood, we begin to apply our power. This tends to happen in our late forties or fifties. Some call this the prime of our lives. We have experienced life enough to know how to minimize the consequences of our behavior, because we realize it is our behavior and not another’s that’s at fault. We have learned that others respond to us in a fashion that is familiar and out of habit. We realize that it’s our actions that have triggered the responses we find offensive. For those with a deeper understanding, they will seek to comprehend the reason for the actions they have encountered. For them, it’s a method of improvement. Others may just shake their heads and move on. Most are somewhere in between.
We don’t know much about the next stage of adulthood, because it is yet to be experienced. For some of us, it will be a time to disseminate the wisdom we’ve developed. This is the only way we can experience fulfillment.
Every stage of life is about the experience of power. We experience the power of others and in doing so, experience our potential. Power is something all struggle with. For some it is the reception of the power of others, the reaction. For others, it is the discovery of the power within. We leave you with this. Power is the ability to influence. For beings such as we, it is the ability to influence others, including ourselves. Power is neither beneficial nor is it detrimental. Power is neutral. The wielder does not determine if power is beneficial or detrimental. It is simply an extension of their being. Those experiencing the power of others determine if the power used is beneficial or detrimental. Their determination is more influential upon others as they demonstrate their power.
Haug, I. E. (1999). Boundaries and the use and misuse of power and authority: Ethical complexities for clergy psychotherapists. Journal of Counseling & Development, 77(4), 411.
 (Haug, 1999)